5-star luxury on the west coast of Ireland

Posted on: 31 October 2016 by 50connect editorial

Mars Webb visits Lough Eske Castle Hotel & Spa and enjoys five-star luxury, relaxation and the tranquility of Donegal.

Lough Eske Castle Hotel & Spa

The Hotel

Set in over 43 acres of forest, Lough Eske Castle Hotel & Spa is a beautiful five-star hotel that is nestled on the unspoiled shores of the lough with a backdrop of the Blue Stack Mountains. It’s actually Donegal’s only five-star hotel and is definitely worthy of its growing reputation. 

An elegant sweeping drive brings you to the stately venue where a doorman welcomes you warmly upon arrival, setting the scene for a level of personal service that is the hallmark of this beautiful hotel. The entrance to the stately home, which was lovingly restored in 2007, is infused with the fabulous aroma of scented candles and leads into the beautiful Tudor-baronial castle that combines luxurious charm with wonderful contemporary touches.

Checking into the Solis Junior Suite – which was incredibly spacious – the room was graced with a solid oak, a king-sized canopy bed that had fabulous pillows and a wonderful mattress, offering two nights of uninterrupted sleep. The wonderful bay windows bathed the room in natural light and had views overlooking the stunning gardens. A marble bathroom with a separate glass shower and toilet was packed with lots of fabulous goodies to enjoy. It's these little touches and the attention to detail that made our stay at Lough Esker that bit more special, such as a candle and matches at the end of the bath and a wonderful turn down evening service.

Lough Eske Cedars Grill

Dinning

Upon arrival we went to the Gallery Bar and were sat beside a beautiful fire and were served delicious Seafood Chowder that was exquisite, packed full of wonderful fresh fish and bursting with flavor. All the bread is made fresh at the castle – the warm homemade wheaten rolls were the perfect addition to the dish.  

After such a hearty chowder, there seemed no better place for our evening meal on the first night than a return to the Gallery Bar. The menu offers a lot of choice – we had steak cooked to perfection with trimmings and finished off with a heavenly apple and coconut crumble pudding accompanied with homemade ice cream.

The second evening we dined at the Cedars Grill, which was fabulous. With local scallops to start, wonderful local lamb as our main and an extensive wine range, the food was beautifully served and the service impeccable and friendly. The restaurant offered faultless, fine dining serving up the very best of local Donegal produce. 

Breakfast on both days was exceptional with a fabulous buffet and a wonderful chef on hand to cook fresh eggs and pancakes, plus there’s a separate breakfast menu if you have special dietary requirements. 

Lough Eske Red Room Fireplace

The Solis Spa

The spa is set in the grounds of the hotel in a tastefully converted Glass House – it has a well-equipped thermal suite with a steam room, sauna and heated bench and a fabulous infinity pool. There is also a pool, fitness suite and a fabulous relaxing area. I enjoyed the Anne Semonin full body massage using aromatic essential oils, it’s a fabulous product range and my skin felt amazing after as well as a full-body relaxation treat. 

Outdoor activities

Lough Eske Castle Hotel & Spa is set in a most splendid location, we were so lucky with the weather and decided to walk the Lough. There are different walks one can tackle with maps and we were given bottled water and ventured out on the 4.5 hour walk around the lake – it was nothing short of breathtaking. Although with a slight hill, the walk is very manageable – just remember your comfy shoes.

Lough Eske grounds

Finally, the staff

It’s so true when people talk about the hospitality of the Irish but the staff here were truly magnificent and we couldn’t have asked for better service. We had a guided history tour of the Castle, which was wonderful, plus the staff were incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about the castle.

With fishing, golf, walks, mountains to explore and wonderful scones and afternoon tea, I’d definitely return – there are also wonderful cottages so you can bring your dog if you wish. 

There are lots of great packages on offer from activity to spa breaks, visit Solis Hotels for more information on packages and to book your stay. 

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